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Dorie Ladner

Civil rights activist Dorie Ann Ladner was born on June 28, 1942, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As an adolescent, she became involved in the NAACP Youth Chapter where Clyde Kennard served as advisor. Ladner got involved in the Civil Rights Movement and wanted to be an activist after hearing about the murder of Emmitt Till. After graduating from Earl Travillion High School as salutatorian, alongside her sister, Joyce Ladner, she went on to enroll at Jackson State University. Dedicated to the fight for civil rights, during their freshmen year at Jackson State, she and her sister attended state NAACP meetings with Medgar Evers and Eileen Beard. That same year, Ladner was expelled from Jackson State for participating in a protest against the jailing of nine students from Tougaloo College.

In 1961, Ladner enrolled at Tougaloo College where she became engaged with the Freedom Riders. During the early 1960s, racial hostilities in the South caused Ladner to drop out of school three times to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1962, she was arrested along with Charles Bracey, a Tougaloo College student, for attempting to integrate the Woolworth’s lunch counter. She joined with SNCC Project Director Robert Moses and others from SNCC and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register disenfranchised black voters and integrate public accommodations. Ladner’s civil rights work was exemplified when she became one of the founding members of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which included: NAACP, CORE, SNCC, and SCLC.

Then, in 1964, Ladner became a key organizer in the Freedom Summer Project sponsored by the COFO. Throughout her years of working with SNCC, she served on the front line of the Civil Rights Movement in various capacities. She participated in every civil rights march from 1963 to 1968 including the March on Washington in 1963, the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965 and the Poor People’s March in 1968. She was the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi, from 1964 to 1966, and lectured at universities, churches, and other institutions to raise money for the organization. In addition, Ladner was a supporter of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement and worked in the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. She went on to serve as a community organizer for the Anti Poverty Program in St. Louis, Missouri, and was an advocate for civil rights in housing and employment. Ladner has also worked for the Martin Luther King Library Documentation Center to help collect the history of people who were participants in the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1973, after her marriage and the birth of her only child, Yodit, Ladner earned her B.A. degree from Tougaloo College. In 1974, she moved to Washington, D.C., and enrolled at the Howard University School of Social Work where she earned her MSW degree in 1975. Ladner has served as a clinical social worker in both the Washington, D.C. General Emergency Room and Psychiatry Department for thirty years. Since her retirement, she has continued her work as a social activist by participating in genealogical research, public speaking, anti-war activities (marches against the war in Iraq), and volunteering in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Accession Number

A2008.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/2/2008

7/24/2008

Last Name

Ladner

Maker Category
Schools

Earl Travillion High School

Jackson State University

Tougaloo College

De Priest School

Howard University

First Name

Dorie

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

LAD03

Favorite Season

Spring, Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

Freedom Is A Constant Struggle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/28/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Southern Food, Brownies

Short Description

Civil rights activist and city social service worker Dorie Ladner (1942 - ) is a founding member of the Council of Federated Organizations, and participated in the March on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the Poor People's March. She was the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi, and a clinical social worker in the Washington, D.C. General Emergency Room and Psychiatry Department.

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618518">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dorie Ladner's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618519">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618520">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618521">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618522">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner talks about her maternal grandfather and great-grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618523">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes her mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618524">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about race relations in the South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618525">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618526">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner talks about the economic opportunities in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618527">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes her paternal grandfather's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618528">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner talks about her French ancestry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618529">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner talks about her paternal grandfather's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618530">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner talks about her relation to Thomas Ladnier</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618531">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes her father and his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618532">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls her decision to stop her genealogical research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618533">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618534">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes her likeness to her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618535">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618536">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dorie Ladner remembers the community of Palmer's Crossing, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618537">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes the sights, sounds and smell of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618538">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner describes her schooling in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618539">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner remembers the murder of Emmett Till</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618540">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner recalls her early exposure to African American publications</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618541">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers the lynchings in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618542">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the economy in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618543">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes her education at the De Priest School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618544">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner remembers joining the NAACP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618545">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner recalls matriculating at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618546">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner remembers meeting with Medgar Evers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618547">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls her experiences at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618548">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the history of Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618549">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remembers demonstrating with Tougaloo College students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618550">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls transferring to Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618551">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the figures in Mississippi's Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618552">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner remembers travelling through the Mississippi Delta</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618553">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner remembers meeting Fannie Lou Hamer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618554">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon the success of the Civil Rights Movement in rural Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618555">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the violence against civil rights organizers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618556">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remembers Robert Parris Moses</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618557">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618558">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner remembers the imprisonment of Clyde Kennard</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618559">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls Clyde Kennard's release from prison</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618560">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the summer of 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618561">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dorie Ladner remembers the murder of Medgar Evers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618562">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner talks about the African American legislators during Reconstruction</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618563">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers Medgar Evers' funeral</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618564">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls being jailed after Medgar Evers' funeral</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618565">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the trial of Medgar Evers' murderer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618566">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls being accosted at a bus station by racist whites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618567">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls the funeral of the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618568">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls working with SNCC in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618569">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner recalls the attempted bombing of the SNCC office in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618570">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618571">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618572">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618573">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner narrates her photographs, pt. 4</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618574">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the murders of Herbert Lee and Lewis Allen</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618575">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls the decision to recruit northern civil rights workers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618576">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the early membership of SNCC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618577">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers SNCC's recruitment at northern colleges</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618578">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls the federal government's opposition to SNCC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618579">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner remembers SNCC's nonviolent action training program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618580">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner remembers the Freedom Summer murders</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618581">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes the SNCC training program in Oxford, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618582">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the mission of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618583">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner talks about her civil rights work in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618584">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner recalls the collaboration between SNCC and the U.S. Department of Justice</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618585">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner remembers transporting SNCC volunteers to Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618586">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner recalls establishing a Freedom House in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618587">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about race relations in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618588">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the attitudes towards outsiders in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618589">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes her daily activities as a civil rights organizer in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618590">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers developing trust with the black community in Natchez, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618591">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the white reactions to civil rights workers in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618592">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the violations of her First Amendment rights</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618593">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner talks about the importance of her roots in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618594">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner talks about SNCC's black northern membership</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618595">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner describes the backgrounds of the members of SNCC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618596">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner talks about the role of white women in SNCC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618597">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner recalls the founding of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618598">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner recalls the federal response to the Freedom Summer murders</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618599">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner describes the objectives of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618600">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes the events of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618601">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes the events of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618602">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes the reactions to the 1964 Democratic National Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618603">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner recalls the Freedom Summer murder trial</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618604">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes the aftermath of the 1964 Democratic National Convention</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618605">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon SNCC's accomplishments in Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618606">Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner remembers the SNCC retreat in Waveland, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618607">Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner recalls the transition of civil rights activities to Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618608">Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner remember the U.S. Congressional campaigns by SNCC activists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618609">Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner recalls the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618610">Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon the strategies of the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618611">Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618612">Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Dorie Ladner describes SNCC's philosophy of activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618613">Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Dorie Ladner talks about the differences between the SCLC and SNCC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618614">Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Dorie Ladner remembers the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618615">Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Dorie Ladner describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618616">Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Dorie Ladner describes the value of genealogical research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618617">Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Dorie Ladner describes her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618618">Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Dorie Ladner talks about Barack Obama's presidential candidacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/618619">Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Dorie Ladner describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

2$1

DATape

12$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Dorie Ladner reflects upon SNCC's accomplishments in Mississippi
Dorie Ladner describes the trial of Medgar Evers' murderer
Transcript
Well, we were talking about the, the early part of 1965, a retreat in Waverley, Mississippi?$$Waveland.$$Waveland, Mississippi, yeah, Waveland, okay; down on the coast, right? The Gulf Coast (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, Mississippi Gulf Coast.$$Yeah. And you said that the SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] people were kind of beating up on themselves.$$Well, yes. It was a retreat to assess what we had done, our successes and failures, and where were we going from there. And some people thought that enough hadn't been accomplished; some thought that some- something had been accomplished, and some weren't quite sure. I know--for myself, I, I knew that things had changed; I'll speak for myself.$$Okay. How had they changed? I mean this (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Because, as I said earlier, that I wanted the young people who were coming into Mississippi, I wanted them to come and see, come and see what was going on, what was happening to us--the young white people who were coming and bringing the media and bringing the federal government into the State of Mississippi to see the brutality and the deaths, and to see the disenfranchisement, the humiliation, the wages--low wages; I wanted everything to be seen. And for me, I knew that Mississippi would never be the same again because it had been exposed to the whole world, and that, for me, was enough. It wasn't enough, but it was enough for me to say that never, never, never again would this happen, and I felt that voter registration, going to the Democratic Convention [1964 Democratic National Convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey], and encountering people from different congressional districts, and having gone to the seat of power, Humphrey [Hubert Humphrey] and the president of the United States [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] knows that we're here now, and our workers had been killed, and the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] had set up headquarters in Mississippi. J. Edgar Hoover had been down there and--searching for the bodies, and the whole state was saturated. No stone was left unturned, although they may have hidden something under them or may--something may have been left, but everything was wide open; Mississippi was wide open, and blacks had gained a sense of empowerment. There were no, no longer any twelve o'clock curfews in Clarksdale, Mississippi, ten o'clock curfews for blacks in Ruleville, Mississippi with the night watchman [J.W. Milam] who had killed Emmett Till serving as the night watchman in Ruleville, and these things were--got--were eradicated. I wanted everybody to come and see, come and see. And for me, I felt that a lot of that had been accomplished. Of course, we had a long way to go because Mississippi is still the poorest state in the union, and the economic part had to be dealt with. But just the humiliation of buying a dress and not being able to try it on. Not being--being told to get out of a restaurant or doctor's office. I know when I was about twelve years old--I had always suffered with sinusitis, and went into the doctor's office and they--woman--nurse came and told me, "Get the hell out of there and go in the back door." Now there was another door at the end of the hall, to go to that door. But the humiliation of day to day activities that you don't anticipate, but it's like everybody sees now, everybody knows what's going on, everybody knows that Herbert Lee was killed, Louis Allen was killed, Mickey Schwerner [Michael Schwerner] and James Chaney and Reverend Lee [George W. Lee] from Belzoni [Mississippi] was killed--they know that; they know Emmett Till was murdered. Emmett Till was murdered and his mama [Mamie Till Mobley] let everybody see his face. Mack Charles Parker was killed--he was thrown into the river; everybody knows that. How many deaths will it take? And they started naming all the names of people who'd been killed. So, that was my whole feeling about what had happened.$It was such a painful, painful time. Your, your mentor--the individual who had nurtured you and who had taught you, and who had taken time to teach you, and to see him gunned down like that, and you'd been with them the night before and said, "We'll see you tomorrow." And I went to both the trials, and Byron De La Beckwith, the murderer, came into the courtroom, they say he had already shot his wife [Mary Williams Beckwith] in the buttocks when he came to court. And his son [Byron De La Beckwith, Jr.] was there. The first judge was moderate; he said, "You could sit wherever you wanna sit." And it was quiet in the courtroom, so we'd come in and sit down; we'd come from Tougaloo [Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi] every day and observe. But one day I came, and this white man put his foot up on the seat to keep me from sitting down and I said, "The judge said we could sit wherever we wanna sit. Move your foot!" And he took his foot down. So, my buddy (laughter), Thomas Armstrong, who was with me--looked for Armstrong--Armstrong was sitting back there acting as if, if he didn't know me, but it didn't matter. The next day I came to court, these same men would say, "Here she comes; what she gonna do this time?" I said, "The same thing I did yesterday." 'Cause Mother [Annie Woullard Perryman] always told us, "Don't you back down; once you get into it, you stay in." And so, they found--they had a--but the way the jury was selected, William Waller who later became judge--the DA [district attorney] at that time, said--would say, when they selected a jury, "Medgar Evers was a nigger, he lived over in nigger town, I didn't agree with what he did, and I know you don't either, but it's my job to uphold the law. Do you think it's wrong for a white man to kill a nigger?" And some of them said--would say, "No," some indifferent, and so that's how he selected the first jury. The second trial--that was mistrial. The second trial, the Klu Klux Klan [sic. Ku Klux Klan, KKK] came, and they dominated the whole courtroom. The jailer--the bailiff had a big thick cane and made us go up to the balcony, and we had to sit in the balcony. But see, we had to time it just right because if we were there by the time they got out of court, we would get beaten, so we would leave and run down those marble steps. You know, in these courthouses, they had these marble steps and those old raggedy elevators? We would run down the steps and get away from the courthouse, and Farish Street [Jackson, Mississippi] was like--almost a mile from where we were; you had the courthouse and the jail right together, so we would (makes sound) run. And the second mis- this--Beckwith would come in for the Klan, they would give him a standing ovation, he would take his bow, and make his little speech and thank them, and they would applaud him and he would have his seat. And so, another mistrial was declared, and this time they--we got caught; they had let out so fast, we weren't able to get away, but Jesse Morris drove up (laughter) in one of those VW [Volkswagen] wagons, and said, "Do y'all need a ride?" And we said, "Yes," and we jumped in and flew, and that was divine intervention because they were very angry, very angry--you know, the Klan, 'cause they were there, and so we got away safely.

Robert James

Bank president and entrepreneur Robert Earl James was born on November 21, 1946, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Annie Mae and Jimmie James, Sr. James graduated from L.J. Rowan High School in 1964, after which he received his B.A. degree in accounting from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1968, James became one of the first African Americans to be accepted into Harvard Business School.

After obtaining his M.B.A. in 1970, James became President of Carver State Bank in Savannah, Georgia, one of the oldest African American-owned commercial banks. During his thirty-year tenure as President and CEO of Carver State Bank, James pioneered the re-development of Atlanta’s inner city as well as helped avert the financial crisis of Morris Brown College. In addition, James acted as Chairman of the National Bankers Association in 1978 and 1990. From 1981 to 2002, James served on the board of the Georgia Telecommunication Authority; he also purchased and revived The Savannah Tribune (now known as The Tribune). In 1989, James became the owner and publisher of The Fort Valley Herald; both are publications dedicated to the African American community.

James was recognized for his work with various honors and awards, including being named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine in 2003, and being awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Bankers Association.

James and his wife, Shirley James, who is the editor of The Tribune, lived in Savannah, Georgia; they raised three children.

Accession Number

A2007.024

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/22/2007

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

L. J. Rowan High School

Grace Love Elementary School

Morris Brown College

Harvard Business School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

JAM03

Favorite Season

January

Sponsor

Robert James II

State

Mississippi

Favorite Quote

I'd Rather Be A Could-be If I Cannot Be An Are; Because A Could-be Is A Maybe Who Is Reaching For A Star. I'd Rather Be A Has-been Than A Might-Have-been, By Far; For A Might Have-been Has Never Been, But A Has Was Once An Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/21/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Okra

Short Description

Bank chief executive Robert James (1946 - ) served for over thirty years as the president and CEO of Carver State Bank.

Employment

Citizen and Southern National Bank

Carver State Bank

Armco Steel Corporation

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370762">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert James' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370763">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert James lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370764">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert James describes his maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370765">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert James describes his mother's personality and community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370766">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert James describes his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370767">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert James describes his mother's educational background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370768">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert James describes his father and the parent he takes after most</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370769">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert James lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370770">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert James describes his childhood homes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370771">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert James describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370772">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert James describes his childhood neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370773">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert James describes his experiences at Grace Love Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370774">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Robert James describes his childhood extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370775">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Robert James describes his mother's cooking for holiday celebrations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370776">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert James recalls his involvement in the African Methodist Episcopal church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370777">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert James remembers learning to play the saxophone</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370778">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert James recalls listening to baseball games on the radio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370779">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert James recalls playing in the high school band</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370780">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert James remembers his involvement in national student council meetings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370781">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert James describes his organizational activities in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370782">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert James describes his teachers at L.J. Rowan High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370783">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert James remembers his high school friends</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370784">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert James describes his high school jobs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370785">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert James recalls his decision to attend Morris Brown College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370786">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Robert James recalls his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370787">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Robert James describes his reaction to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370788">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert James recalls his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370789">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert James recalls cross burnings and the bombing of Vernon Dahmer's home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370790">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert James recalls attending Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370791">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert James explains why he attended a historically black college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370792">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert James describes his experiences at Morris Brown College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370793">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert James recalls avoiding the Vietnam War draft</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370794">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert James recalls his brothers' U.S. military service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370795">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert James remembers his friend, Paul C. Bland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370796">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert James recalls his accounting training at Armco Steel Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370797">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert James remembers meeting his wife, Shirley James</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370798">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Robert James recalls his experiences at Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370799">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert James remembers his classmates at the Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370800">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert James reflects upon the importance of community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370801">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert James recalls recruiting black students to the Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370802">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert James recalls his internship at The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370803">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert James remembers moving to Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370804">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert James recalls attending Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370805">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert James remembers the birth of his son</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370806">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert James describes his family's legacy at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370807">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert James recalls the political involvement of The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370808">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robert James recalls becoming the president of Carver State Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370809">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert James describes his involvement in fraternities, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370810">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert James describes his involvement in fraternities, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370811">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert James recounts the history of Savannah's Carver State Bank</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370812">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert James talks about Carver State Bank's financial growth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370813">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert James talks about the importance of African American owned businesses</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370814">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert James talks about the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370815">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert James talks about government minority finance programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370816">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert James describes his book, 'The Mississippi Black Bankers and Their Institutions,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370817">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert James describes his book, 'The Mississippi Black Bankers and Their Institutions,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370818">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert James talks about his son, Robert E. James, II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370819">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert James describes his older daughter, Anne James Gennaio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370820">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert James describes his younger daughter, Rachelle James Gregory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370821">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert James talks about his honorary degrees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370822">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert James describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370823">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert James shares his message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370824">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert James describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370825">Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robert James reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/370826">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert James narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

2$10

DATitle
Robert James remembers learning to play the saxophone
Robert James recalls becoming the president of Carver State Bank
Transcript
What about music in the home?$$Oh, we were, we loved music. My mother [Annie Gee James] loved music and so did my father [Jim James], in his own quiet way, but he, my mother made it possible for all of us to learn to play a musical instrument. We were poor. She could only afford one instrument and, well, originally she could only afford one. She bought a saxophone and so all of the boys, starting with my oldest brother [Jimmie James, Jr.], who is a musician, who was actually a trained musician, learned how to play saxophone, so one of the highlights of my mother's life was at a church program and four of us, who could play the various saxophones, played 'How Great Thou Art,' on saxophone for my mother, and that was, you know, I learned how to play and my mother bought an alto saxophone. I understand that my brother has actually got that saxophone and has had it refurbished, my oldest brother, who was at Jackson State [Jackson State College; Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi], but they, and then when my sister [Elease James Lindsey] came along, she bought a clarinet, so we had two musical instruments that the family owned and my sister learned how to play the clarinet. Well, if you have five boys and one girl and all of 'em playing saxophone, the only one, my youngest brother, Bobby Ray [Bobby Ray James], probably never learned how to play a musical instrument but, you know, things change when the youngest child comes. But, we, we've had to learn how to play an instrument that the school would furnish, so after you learned how to play the saxophone, if you wanted to stay involved in the high school band, and stay involved in music, you had to learn how to something that they school would supply, so all of us were kind of large-sized. My oldest brother became a tuba player and so his major instrument throughout college and throughout all of his music education, is a tuba. He did his senior recital at Jackson State on the tuba, and so I learned, then Arthur [Arthur James] learned how to play the tuba, of course, and he played the tuba in the high school band. John [John L. James] went into, started playing high school football, so he never really continued his music, even though he learned how to play the saxophone because my mother insisted all of us learn how to play saxophone and, of course, I learned how to play the saxophone and when I got to high school [L.J. Rowan High School, Hattiesburg, Mississippi], I gave up the saxophone because I would have to give it up because my younger brother, Bobby Ray, would have had to take the saxophone, but he never really learned how to play it if I recall, but I played tuba in high school. I played the French horn, I played baritone, and then when I got to college, of course I played at Morris Brown [Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia] in the marching band. I played tuba for two years. So, everybody in the house, just about, knew how to play a musical instrument.$So, how do you become the president of Carver State Bank [Savannah, Georgia] in '71 [1971]?$$Well, in 1969 while I was working for C&S Bank [The Citizens and Southern National Bank of Georgia], I came, I was working on my graduate research report for the Harvard Business School [Boston, Massachusetts]. This was the summer of '69 [1969], and I was gonna go back to finish my final year at Harvard Business School. I was doing my research report on the C&S community development corporation, which had started here in Savannah [Georgia], and so in order to do that research, I had to travel to Savannah, and so I came to Savannah to talk to the people at the local office of C&S Bank. During that time, I met a young lady named Betty Ellington [Betty W. Ellington], who was the wife of Coach Russell Ellington, who was a noted basketball coach around here, and also a Morris Brown [Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Georgia] graduate and so is Betty. She was an administrative assistant to the head of the community development corporation of C&S Bank. Well, she told me, she asked me if I had met the people at the black bank in Savannah, and I had not, I don't think I even knew that there was a black-owned bank in Savannah, but she took me to meet the president of this bank, and during the course of that conversation I was so intrigued by the, what looked like an opportunity (laughter) and so I met him and then I, so I talked to him later after that meeting and told him if he would offer me a job when I finished my master's degree from Harvard, I'd take the job, you know, and I wouldn't argue about salary or anything, because those were simpler times when we had no bills (laughter) because the only bill I would have had would have been a student loan or something, so I actually told him I would take a job because I never heard from him. But, I continued to research, to do research on the bank. While I was in Boston [Massachusetts], I would pull the legal reports on the bank and look at it and so forth. So, I kept in touch with people and then when I came back to work, after I finished my master's I came back to work in Atlanta [Georgia] at C&S Bank, I, C&S Bank was what was called the major correspondent bank of Carver State Bank in Savannah, which means that at C&S Bank, we had a file on Carver State Bank, which means I could go to central files and just pull the file and read what was going on and see the legal reports of the bank and so forth, and could understand the relationship between the two banks, and so I actually was aware of this bank and when I found out that their Mr. Perry [Lawrence D. Perry], who was the president, had announced his retirement and that this bank would be looking for a president, I started getting interested in the job. So, I started, I contacted them immediately, I contacted the people at C&S and so, so I became interested in becoming the president and so they had an interview process. I think Mr. J.B. Clemmons [HistoryMaker John B. Clemmons, Sr.] would have been the chairman of the committee and he, so I came down and had my interview, and I think there were two other people that they were considering who, neither of them had any real banking experience, but they were local leaders here in the community, and so I was able to get that job and so I came here as president of the bank. One of the things I asked as a condition of my accepting the job was that immediate upon my acceptance of the job that they announce that I'm the president. And, that's just my Harvard education, that somebody might change their mind (laughter) after, you know, they have a quiet conversation with me, the president might decide he's not gonna retire. And so, in June or July of 1971, there was an announcement that I would be president of Carver State Bank, so I came to work at Carver in July. I actually became president December 1, and so Mr. Perry, who was the president, stayed in the bank for a few months while I was there, and that gave me a chance to assess the staff and to make my decisions as to what I wanted to do when I took over, and so I took over on December 1. One of the first things I did--

Naomi Jean Gray

Naomi Jean Gray was born Naomi Jean Thomas on May 18, 1922, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, Gray earned her B.S. degree in sociology from Hampton University in 1945, and three years later, earned her M.S. degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis.

A caseworker in the Foster Care Agency in Indianapolis from 1948 to 1949, Gray joined the Planned Parenthood Federation of America a year later. During her twenty years with Planned Parenthood, Gray established and directed seven regional offices throughout the United States and developed guidelines for community education and organizational programs. Gray became the first woman to serve as vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as a social work instructor at San Francisco State University. Honored as an Indiana Distinguished Citizen, and cited for her work by the National Association for Sickle Cell Disease, Gray also founded and served as president of the Urban Institute for American Affairs. A cofounder and executive director of the Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency, Gray also worked as a consultant for several health and family planning groups.

A member of many community organizations, including the National Urban League, the National Conference on Social Welfare, the California State Planning Commission on Minority Business Enterprises, and the San Francisco Health Commission, Grey also served as a member of the African American Child Task Force, the NAACP, and the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce. As cofounder of the African American Education Leadership Group, Gray worked to establish an academic elementary school in a predominately African American community in San Francisco. Gray also served on Mayor Willie Brown’s Task Force on Children, Youth, and Their Families from 1990 to 1993.

Gray passed away on December 29, 2007.

Accession Number

A2005.090

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/31/2005

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Jean

Schools

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Hampton University

Indiana University School of Social Work

First Name

Naomi

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

GRA05

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

Don't Walk Behind Me. Walk Beside. As We Walk Together, We Can Accomplish A Lot.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/18/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

12/29/2007

Short Description

Healthcare executive and nonprofit chief executive Naomi Jean Gray (1922 - 2007 ) was a cofounder of the Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency.

Employment

Planned Parenthood

San Francisco State University

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303951">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Naomi Jean Gray's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303952">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Naomi Jean Gray lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303953">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303954">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303955">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303956">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303957">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her oldest sister, Willa Thomas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303958">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her brother, Edward Thomas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303959">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her middle sister, Doris Thomas, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303960">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her youngest sister, Ruth Thomas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303961">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her middle sister, Doris Thomas, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303962">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers segregation in Indianapolis, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303963">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers her grandmother's cooking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303964">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her father's perception of racism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303965">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers segregation in Indianapolis, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303966">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Naomi Jean Gray describes attending Crispus Attucks High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303967">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers attending Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303968">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her social life at Hampton Institute</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303969">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers her field work in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303970">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers traveling with Planned Parenthood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303971">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers her outreach to migrant workers for Planned Parenthood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303972">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers traveling with Planned Parenthood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303973">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers an eventful NAACP meeting in San Francisco, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303974">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers working with Stewart Mott and Patricia Neal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303975">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Naomi Jean Gray recounts her difficulties at Planned Parenthood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303976">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Naomi Jean Gray remembers working with Native Americans at Planned Parenthood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303977">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Naomi Jean Gray describes being San Francisco's health commissioner during the AIDS epidemic, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303978">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Naomi Jean Gray describes being San Francisco's health commissioner during the AIDS epidemic, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303979">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her work to treat sickle cell anemia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303980">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her work in San Francisco schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303981">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her volunteer work</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303982">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Naomi Jean Gray describes being a mentor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303983">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Naomi Jean Gray shares her concerns about the regulation of cannabis in San Francisco</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303984">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303985">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Naomi Jean Gray reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303986">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Naomi Jean Gray describes her core values</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303987">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Naomi Jean Gray describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/303988">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Naomi Jean Gray narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

8$6

DATitle
Naomi Jean Gray remembers her outreach to migrant workers for Planned Parenthood
Naomi Jean Gray describes being San Francisco's health commissioner during the AIDS epidemic, pt. 2
Transcript
There were a lot of very interesting things that happened to me while I was at, at--working for National Planned Parenthood [Planned Parenthood Federation of America]. I would spend a week or ten days for five years living in a migrant camp in Florida for the purpose of talking about health and health issues at family planning and we would have the best time, the women, the migrant women who worked so hard following the crops and whether they were pregnant or not, they still had to get out there and hard labor, back breaking labor. But we would talk--there was--one of the women said well she guessed she would have seven children because her mother did it. I said, "Well this is not an inherited thing. You don't inherit this from your mother. You can only inherit this from a man." And she would laugh and think I was so funny and but they would bring fish from Okeechobee Lake [Lake Okeechobee] and vegetables because I lived with the public health nurse there and I remember during that segregated time there was a white guy at the State--Florida State Department of Health [Florida Department of Health] and I had worked with him on some projects and he wanted me to go out to this place where these migrant workers were, all black and of course, they would import for the other labor like cutting cane because those black folks weren't getting in there with those snakes and stuff and cutting cane in the field but they would bring them in from Haiti and in from Jamaica and one of the things that happened that, eventually AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] in that little place, had the highest incidence of AIDS of any place in the country and that was because when the gay men would go to Haiti and have relationships with those men and that was the onset of you know before we knew a lot about AIDS as a, as a--such a difficult problem. But we developed a, a card for those migrant workers and their children because they would immunize these children over and over again as they traveled up the road. So they then had a little wallet card, they didn't have a wallet, but a card and say just put it where you have your little papers so that if you have to go into a clinic or a hospital, they will have your health history and know what has happened to you so that you are not you know being treated again or children immunized again. And that was really--and that subsequently I presented a paper at the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Singapore talking about my work living with migrants and developing health and family planning programs.$And then I'd said I wanted to be chair of the budget committee [of the San Francisco Health Commission] because we had half billion dollar budget, and whoever distributed that money was very key. And I turned down being president of the committee because I said, "No, I wanna be budget chair of this committee to see where the money goes and who gets the money and how I can change their contracting practices," where blacks weren't getting contracts for some of the things that were being done. Of course, the health department [San Francisco Department of Public Health] staff and people fought it, having a commission, but I was overseeing the money so Phil Lee [Philip Randolph Lee], who used to be the chancellor at UCSF [University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California], was president of the commission because Dianne [Senator Dianne Feinstein] had appointed all of us and he said, "You're smart. You knew--you got where the money was." And I said, "Well I learned that many years ago many years ago at Planned Parenthood [Planned Parenthood Federation of America]. You find out where the power is and then that's where you go." And so I did a lot to change a lot of the contracting practices, more money for health programs for, for minority communities that weren't getting them and started early on with the AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome] thing. I started working on, on that in 1991 with the Ph.D. Benajet [ph.]--what was her name? Benajet. We did a study and wrote a report on AIDS in San Francisco [California] and just the realities and new solutions of what we were going to do. In 1988, I went to Cecil Williams and I said, "Cecil, what can we do to get the black churches tuned in to this whole thing because we know that they have gay people in their congregation. They play the piano or they direct the choirs. I know they're there." And he said, "Well, why don't we have a conference?" I said, "Okay, I'll go to a foundation and get enough money so that we can have this conference on the role of the black church in the fight against AIDS." Well, we couldn't find a church over here that would allow us to have that conference and Cecil, you know his relationship to the church, 'cause he's done so much more than they do, so he found the--a church [Allen Temple Baptist Church] in Oakland [California], Reverend Green [ph.], as I remember was his name and we--and I organized that conference, J. Alfred Smith [Reverend Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.] and a whole--some of those people came and that was the beginning of trying to open up the doors to the clergy to try to get them to see that they had a role to play in getting this information to, to black people. We can't sit around and wait. Well, we sat around and waited, but I did. I kept pushing and shoving and calling together black people of all persuasions that led to the formation of the Black Coalition on AIDS [Rafiki Coalition] here. And they still aren't doing as much as I think they ought to do. There is still denial, and but we just have to keep moving and getting information out because, you know, our young people and women and men are dying from this disease. And so that was something I started and was able to push on the health commission to keep that in the forefront of how we have to be taken care of too with prevention and education.

Victoria Adams

Victoria Jackson Gray Adams was born Victoria Jackson on November 5, 1926 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her mother died when Adams was just three years old, and she was raised on her paternal grandparents’ farm. In 1945, she earned her high school diploma from DePriest Consolidated School and went on to attend Wilberforce University from 1945 until 1946, but had to return home to Mississippi when the family could no longer afford tuition.

Despite not having a degree, Adams was able to find work as a teacher in Mississippi. This led to her civil rights activities when she began teaching voter registration classes in the early 1960s. In 1962, Adams became a full time civil rights activist when she became field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Her efforts would enable her to lead a boycott against Hattiesburg businesses and prepare the city for Freedom Summer 1964. Although married with three small children, Adams helped organize the alternative Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). In 1964, Adams, along with fellow activists Fannie Lou Hamer and Annie Devine, were chosen as the national spokespersons for the MFDP and attended the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. Although they were not seated, their efforts did lead to the Democratic Party integrating its ranks. In 1968, the three women were seated guests on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Adams was also the first woman to run for national office in Mississippi. In 1968, Adams left the country with her second husband and moved to Thailand where she continued to fight against racism and discrimination against African American soldiers and their families.

Adams received numerous awards and honors for her activism. She was featured in the award-winning documentary Eyes on the Prize and several books. She was active in the SCLC and several other human rights organizations. Adams was also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Adams passed away on August 12, 2006 at the age of 79.

Accession Number

A2004.098

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/19/2004

10/12/2004

Last Name

Adams

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Wilberforce University

Tuskegee University

First Name

Victoria

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

ADA06

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere New

Favorite Quote

The World Shrinks Or Expands In Relation To How We Choose To Live In It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/5/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Death Date

8/12/2006

Short Description

Civil rights activist Victoria Adams (1926 - 2006 ) was influential as a voting rights activist and national spokesperson for the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party (MFDP).

Employment

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

University of Southern Mississippi

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196765">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Victoria Adams' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196766">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Victoria Adams lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196767">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Victoria Adams talks about her family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196768">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Victoria Adams talks about her family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196769">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Victoria Adams talks about her family's homesteading</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196770">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Victoria Adams describes her earliest childhood memory of her mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196771">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Victoria Adams describes growing up on a farm in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196772">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Victoria Adams describes growing up on a farm in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196773">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Victoria Adams talks about her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196774">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Victoria Adams describes the community in which she grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196775">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Victoria Adams describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196776">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Victoria Adams describes DePriest Consolidated School's baccalaureate service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196777">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Victoria Adams describes her elementary school experiences at Forrest County Training School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196778">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Victoria Adams talks about running into a primer grade classmate as an adult</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196779">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Victoria Adams describes her childhood aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196780">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Victoria Adams describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196781">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Victoria Adams describes her experiences attending church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196782">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Victoria Adams describes her high school experiences, including influential teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196783">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Victoria Adams talks about her aspirations as a student at DePriest Consolidated School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196784">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Victoria Adams describes her experiences at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1945</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196785">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Victoria Adams talks about leaving Wilberforce University in 1946, after her first year</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196786">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Victoria Adams talks about the beginnings of her teaching career and her first marriage to Tony West Gray, Sr., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196787">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Victoria Adams talks about the beginnings of her teaching career and her first marriage to Tony West Gray, Sr., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196788">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Victoria Adams talks about her experiences in Germany in the early 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196789">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Victoria Adams talks about entering the business world selling beauty products</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196790">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Victoria Adams describes a 1960s civil rights experience that took place at her church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196791">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Victoria Adams describes a 1960s civil rights experience that took place at her church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196792">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Victoria Adams describes her involvement in SNCC as field secretary</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196793">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Victoria Adams reflects upon her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196794">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Victoria Adams describes receiving death threats due to her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196795">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Victoria Adams talks about running for the State of Mississippi's U.S. Senate seat</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196796">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Victoria Adams talks about the establishment of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196797">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Victoria Adams describes attending the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196798">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Victoria Adams explains how the Democratic National Convention affected the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196799">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Victoria Adams talks about her involvement in Freedom Summer 1964, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196800">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Victoria Adams talks about her involvement in Freedom Summer 1964, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196801">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Victoria Adams talks about the importance of singing during Freedom Summer 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196802">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Victoria Adams talks about her experience in Washington, D.C. as part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196803">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Victoria Adams talks about her experience in Washington, D.C. as part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196804">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Victoria Adams talks about her experience in Washington, D.C. as part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196805">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Victoria Adams talks about her experience in Washington, D.C. as part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, pt. 4</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196806">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Victoria Adams talks about Fannie Lou Hamer's notoriety as a civil rights leader and voting rights activist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196807">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Victoria Adams describes Fannie Lou Hamer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196808">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Victoria Adams talks about her decision to move abroad in the late 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196809">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Victoria Adams talks about her role as an organizer for African American women in Thailand during the early 1970s, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196810">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Victoria Adams talks about her role as an organizer for African American women in Thailand during the early 1970s, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196811">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Victoria Adams talks about her activities at Fort Myer, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196812">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Victoria Adams talks about her real estate career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196813">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Victoria Adams describes her work as a campus minister at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196814">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Victoria Adams describes her work as a campus minister at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196815">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Victoria Adams talks about teaching civil rights history at University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196816">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Victoria Adams reflects upon her life experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196817">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Victoria Adams narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196818">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Victoria Adams narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/196819">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Victoria Adams narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

DASession

2$2

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Victoria Adams talks about running for the State of Mississippi's U.S. Senate seat
Victoria Adams talks about her involvement in Freedom Summer 1964, pt. 2
Transcript
Let's talk about in 1963, you made history in the State of Mississippi as the first female to run for--$$National.$$--national office. What office did you run for and why did you decide to do that?$$I ran for state senator, for the senator. I ran against Senator [John] Stennis who was, you know, well planted at that time. I did it because nobody else would do it. They--you know, there was an effort to find someone who was willing to do it and--$$What was the purpose of running for office senate? Did you really think you were gonna win?$$Of course not.$$Why--so why did you do it?$$It's--and when you say win, I'm assuming you're speaking of win in the usual, you know, thinking win.$$Right. 'Cause even though you didn't win the seat, it was a victory for you.$$But, you know, you had to decide--you had to determine what was a win for yourself, you know. And, of course, you know, I would--I think I have fairly common sense and I knew full well that with a handful of black voters in Mississippi, maybe that numerically, there was no way, but I understood that this was an opportunity to teach, to encourage, okay? And to empower black power to register to vote to see someone who looked like them actually on the ballot running against Stennis had to say, "Wait a minute. Maybe if I was registered, you know, she could win." Also, they understood the danger of that and so it--was an experience that both educated, inspired, encouraged and empowered people to get registered to vote.$So we were talking a little bit about Freedom Summer 1964, and you talked about Freedom Day.$$Freedom Day, you--yes, which, which was--may very well have been something of precursor to Freedom Summer. Anyway, what was going on in Hattiesburg [Mississippi] was really your original question. And at that time, we were--you know, after, after Freedom Day, activity escalated. We continued to do what we were doing, recruiting new--our teachers for Citizenship Education [Program, CEP] classes, working with the young people or some not so young going--actually going out into the community, knocking on people's doors. Sitting and talking with them, excha--excha--you know, encouraging them to continue to, to go down to their registrar's office because that is the only way, you know, that things were going to change. So we were, we were quite busy. We were quite busy. We were very much a part of the move toward Freedom Summer. I was a part of the group that went to Oxford [Ohio] how--to do training. In fact, I was in the second group. The first group went up and Michael [Schwerner] and [James Earl] Chaney were in the first group of trainers; [Andrew] Goodman was one of the volunteers who had been trained and came back to Mississippi with them. Schwerner's wife, Rita [Schwerner Bender], was with me and Mrs. [Annie Bell Robinson] Devine and whoever else was riding in our car. We went up to replace the group that returned. The, the first group returned to Mississippi and the next group came up to take up the next week, and Schwerner's wife was--in the car with those of us who went up. And we got in Saturday night. Well, they had left Saturday morning going back to Mississippi; we got into Oxford Saturday night to get people going on--to begin the new week on Sunday. And, and before the day was over on Sunday, word came with that the three young men were missing, and of course, those of us who knew, knew when the word came that they were missing that they were most likely, dead; we knew that, but you didn't say that. At any rate--$$Did his wife--what was his wife's reaction?$$Oh, they just simply took Rita and headed back to Mississippi--$$Yeah.$$--you know, several of the guys because they, they were quite certain. I mean, we were quite certain of what, what the ultimate outcome was gonna be there. And it was a, a very traumatic experience, but, you know, one of the, the glue, I believe, as one person put it, that held the movement together was song and singing.

Cheryl Saunders

Cheryl Eileen Saunders was born on May 7, 1955 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to Lula Roberts and Isaac London. The oldest of four children, Saunders (then Roberts) stayed close to her family for many years, attending college in her hometown. Saunders has brought a unique perspective to music education.

Upon graduating from Blair High School in 1972, Saunders continued her education at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She earned a bachelor's degree in music education in 1977 and a master's degree in music from the same school in 1983. In 1989, Saunders left the United States for England, serving as a facilitator and arts consultant for the Creative Futures Music Consulting Group and a teacher of mathematics and music for the Reading Borough Council. Saunders organized and conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Gospel Choir, coordinated a U.S. servicemen's seminar of Germany, and organized a music program at the multicultural Coley Primary School in Reading, England. There, she helped children compose music.

Returning to the United States, Saunders became a doctoral candidate in the field of educational leadership at the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks in 1996. Saunders began consulting the university in 1997 while presenting at international music workshops. She showed the differences and similarities between Western and African American music, especially focusing on the history of church music. In 1998, teaching for the first time in a college setting, Saunders lectured at the University of North Dakota and the Northwest Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minnesota on the issues of multiculturalism. She also became the interim center coordinator for the Era Bell Thompson Cultural Center, which provides support for students of all ethnicities. Saunders has been married to Lee R. Saunders since 1980. They have two children, Jasmine and Joshua.

Accession Number

A2002.160

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/13/2002

Last Name

Saunders

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Blair High School

Blair Center Hattiesburg High

First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

SAU02

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Minnesota

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/7/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs (Vegetarian)

Short Description

Academic administrator and choral director Cheryl Saunders (1955 - ) organized the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Gospel Choir.

Employment

Creative Futures Music Consulting Group

Reading Borough Council

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Gospel Choir

University of North Dakota

Northwest Technical College

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72099">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cheryl Saunders' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72100">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cheryl Saunders lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72101">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cheryl Saunders describes her mother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72102">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cheryl Saunders describes her maternal grandmother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72103">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cheryl Saunders describes her household as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72104">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cheryl Saunders describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72105">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cheryl Saunders talks about how her community shaped her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72106">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cheryl Saunders talks about growing up in the South during the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72107">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cheryl Saunders remembers her mother's friendship with Vernon Dahmer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72108">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cheryl Saunders recalls her elementary school education in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72109">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cheryl Saunders describes attending several high schools in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72110">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cheryl Saunders describes studying music at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72111">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cheryl Saunders talks about her interest in Negro spirituals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72112">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cheryl Saunders describes her life after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72113">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cheryl Saunders talks about being a Seventh Day Adventist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72114">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cheryl Saunders talks about her depression following her parents' deaths</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72115">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cheryl Saunders describes working with choirs in England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72116">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cheryl Saunders contrasts gospel music in England versus the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72117">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cheryl Saunders talks about the racial composition of her choir in England</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72118">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cheryl Saunders talks about Grand Forks, North Dakota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72119">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cheryl Saunders describes her decision to obtain a Ph.D.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72120">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cheryl Saunders talks about the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks, North Dakota,pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72121">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cheryl Saunders talks about the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72122">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cheryl Saunders talks about her career at the University of North Dakota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72123">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cheryl Saunders talks about her committee involvement at the University of North Dakota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72124">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cheryl Saunders talks about African Americans in North Dakota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72125">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cheryl Saunders describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72126">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cheryl Saunders talks about her opposition to Native American mascots</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72127">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cheryl Saunders narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

8$3

DATitle
Cheryl Saunders talks about growing up in the South during the Civil Rights Movement
Cheryl Saunders contrasts gospel music in England versus the U.S.
Transcript
Now you grew up--when you were growing up the Civil Rights Movement had kicked off in the south and you were a little girl when, when voters are being registered in 1964 all over the state of Mississippi then and do, do, do you remember any of that and, and what the adults were, were thinking about that?$$Do you know--$$Hattiesburg was one of the towns--(unclear)--$$I, I remembered my mother paying poll tax, but I don't remember my mother studying, you know, because there was a particularl test that black people had to take as a way of weeding out or getting those people away from voting. I do remember people picketing downtown, especially on Saturday mornings. My mother--I think Martin Luther King [Jr.] was coming to my town, my mother wanted to go to that meeting and was going to take me. My aunt begged her not to go, and we didn't go because they thought, you know, the threat of a bombing or some type of terrorist attack. However, my mother was not the type of person to go out and, and march. She wasn't that type of a picketer. She was what I would call a silent protestor, so we boycotted a lot of things. I do remember that there was a cross burned across the street in front of our house. I have never been so frightened in my life, and I've gone through a lot of things since, nothing like that. And, and instead of frightening us, well initially we were frightened, but instead of frightening us overall we were angered, okay, and so my mom voted; voted until she died. That was the thing, as children we were aware of what was going on politically, I know I was, and that helped me in just noticing who was in my neighborhood because we'd heard stories of folk disappearing and very, what would I say, we were very much a part of the struggle because even going to school we would have to fight our way to school. We had to walk through a white neighborhood to get to a black school. So, every morning, every afternoon throwing rocks. White kids threw rocks at us, and we tried different ways. So, even the children were a part of that movement. My husband will tell you I can hit my target. I learned to throw back. At one point, it was--we were told not to fight back and at one point we just couldn't. How much abuse can one take, and so we used to fight, going back and forth, back and forth. So, even as children, we were a part of that. We were unwillingly thrown into it. So, part of our childhood was affected, of course, by the Civil Rights Movement.$But, my job was to put the choir together and so what we did I gave a series of seminars on African American church music, and an analysis, you know, comparative analysis of African American church music and western church music, so I had to approach it from that standpoint. And I also worked with choirs, and they were trying to get their gospel sound because people, I found in England, people loved gospel music, but they didn't like the screaming kind. They wanted just--they loved the gospel sound, okay.$$They didn't want the screaming?$$They didn't want you to scream. They didn't want to lose the voice. They wanted to sing correctly because, you know--(unclear)--we can't do that.$$So, was that a major adjustment that had to be made--(unclear)--$$The, the major--I think the major adjustment to me that they had to make that they couldn't sing this from just the chest, just superficial singing. Gospel music to me is, is, as with Negro spirituals that's a deep down, that's soul. That's in the depths of one's soul, and it is a matter of exposing yourself to your audience. And a lot of people are so reserved they don't want to expose themselves, where in the black culture the African--an African American expose themselves, my hurt. If I'm hurting, it went through my song, you know that this girl has been though something. When the other culture it was said, well that's good, okay I let you see my, feel my pain, see it and almost feel my pain because you have some pain somewhere you know, so really helping them to let go and really let, let their emotions come forth.$$Could they do it?$$Yes, some people were very good. It was, it was an old theater trick, you know, feel the atmosphere. You close your eyes and you feel the atmosphere. I learned that in theater, opera theater workshop. You feel the atmosphere and you become this and I would give them different scenarios just to help them to let go of those emotions and we ended up with a 300 voice choir. I don't think ten percent were even people of color.$$But they could sing Negro spirituals?$$Primarily we were doing gospel on that particular one.$$--(Unclear)--$$There were some people that I was very surprised and you know what I discovered some folk only listened to black singers, so that's what they've tuned their ear and their voices too, interesting. I, I auditioned folk to hear, especially for soloist, to hear that and I was shocked.$$Really.$$Isaiah Jackson was shocked too.$$Now, there's a history of that appreciation over there that goes all the way back to the pre-Beatle days.$$Right.$$Listening to the old blues singers.$$That's right.$$The Beatles got there.$$That's right.$$And they--that, that's what they say.$$And see I was in Liverpool, Beatle town, Beatle City and it was very well received. The Phil, I understand the Philharmonic had been having some problems of attendance and also they were in the process of refurbishing their auditorium, so this particular concert had to be held in the Anglican Cathedral, which held about 2000 people. I understand that they had to turn people away. That was the first time the Phil had ever had any type of function, a concert where they literally had to turn people away and because that particular concert brought in Liverpool, not just the elite, but different classes. It transcended all classes. And even in our choir, I had bankers, I had homeless people, you know, but everybody in the choir from my standpoint they were on the same level, okay, and that's how we treated them with the same respect. There were people who normally wouldn't have even talked to each other, let alone stand together and sing together and so we saw that as a positive, as a positive project for Liverpool. They offered me a job to stay on and do this thing full time, but the military said no and made us come back to America, which I--we miss the place.

Walter E. Massey

College president and physicist Walter E. Massey was born on April 5, 1938 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was raised by his step-father, Almar Cleveland Massey, and mother, Essie Nelson Massey. Segregated society made life difficult for him and his family but his parents raised him with the mentality to stay safe, be proud, and deal with discrimination. During the tenth grade at Royal Street High School, Massey was awarded a full scholarship after taking a Ford Foundation exam and he skipped the rest of high school to attend Morehouse College. Under the tutelage of his mentor, Professor Sabinus H. Christensen, he fell in love with physics his first semester and earned his B.S. degree in 1958. Christensen, encouraged him to attend Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri for graduate school. Massey earned his Ph.D. degree in physics at Washington University in 1966.

After graduate school, Massey briefly worked at Argonne National Laboratory before becoming a physics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was one of only four or five black professors out of the 3,000-member faculty, and he participated in every black faculty and student association. Massey left Illinois to teach at Brown University where he created the Inner City Teachers of Science program and eventually became dean of the College at Brown. After ten years, Massey left Brown to become the director of Argonne National Laboratory in 1979. Argonne was operated by the University of Chicago where Massey was also a physics professor. After management reform at Argonne, he became the first black vice president for research between 1984 and 1991. Massey was the founding chairman of the University of Chicago Development Corporation and served in that capacity from 1986 to 1991. In 1991, he was appointed as the director of the National Science Foundation, where he served until 1993. Massey was appointed as provost and vice president for academic affairs for the University of California system and its three national laboratories in 1993. Massey returned to Morehouse College, his alma mater, but this time in 1995 as college president. Massey was president at Morehouse until 2007, and in 2010 became president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Massey has always been committed to expanding opportunities for minorities in science education. He sat on the President's Council of Advisors, Science and Technology (PCAST) under both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush. Massey has been awarded more than twenty honorary doctorates and numerous awards for excellence in teaching. He has been active in several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Massey has also been active in a number of civic, cultural, and community organizations. His wife is Shirley Anne Massey, and he has two sons, Keith Barnett Anthony Massey and Eric Eugene Massey.

Walter Massey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.023

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/13/2002

07/10/2002

Last Name

Massey

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Organizations
Schools

Morehouse College

Washington University in St Louis

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Hattiesburg

HM ID

MAS01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/5/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Physicist and academic administrator Walter E. Massey (1938 - ) was president of Morehouse College for twelve years before becoming president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. He served as the director of Argonne National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation and was a physics professor at the University of Illinois, Brown University, and the University of Chicago.

Employment

University of California

Morehouse College

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Brown University

University of Chicago

Argonne National Laboratory

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31416">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Massey interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31417">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Massey lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31418">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Massey remembers his mother and father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31419">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Massey shares childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31420">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Massey relates how his parents taught him to handle racism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31421">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Massey recalls his elementary school activities and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31422">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Massey recounts his summer visits to the North</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31423">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Massey recalls his early impression of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31424">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Massey remembers his early interest in math</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31425">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Massey remembers his high school jazz band</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31426">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Massey explains how he got into Morehouse College at sixteen</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31427">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Massey describes the academic encouragement he got at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31428">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Massey recounts his undergraduate years at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31429">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Massey remembers his professors at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31430">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Massey recalls the influence of chapel on the Morehouse community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31431">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Massey explains what attracted him to physics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31432">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Massey recounts his involvement in Omega Psi Phi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31433">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Massey recalls his other college extracurriculars</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31434">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Massey discusses his work after graduating college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31435">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Massey explains his transition to Washington University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31436">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Massey recalls working towards his PhD at Washington University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31437">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Massey recounts his tumultuous stint as a professor at University of Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31438">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Massey details his work at Brown University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31439">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Massey remembers becoming the first black director of Argonne National Laboratory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31440">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Second slating of Walter Massey interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31441">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Massey recalls the personal and professional impact of his tenure with Argon Labs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31442">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Massey explains why he restructured Argon's management</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31443">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Massey remembers what he learned at Argon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31444">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Massey discusses some programs he implemented at Argon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31445">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Massey recounts his tenure as vice president of research at Argon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31446">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Massey discusses his association with Cordell Reed</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31447">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Massey expresses his thoughts on the nuclear energy and waste</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31448">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Massey recalls his work for the Governor's Commission of Science and Technology</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31449">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Massey recounts his appointment as director of the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31450">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Massey explains the history and purpose of the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31451">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Massey remembers working with President George Bush Sr. at Camp David</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31452">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Massey discusses issues of race and prejudice in the sciences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31453">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Massey recalls his projects and issues at the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31454">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Walter Massey recalls a controversy of a new location for the NSF building</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31455">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Walter Massey discusses the importance of polar research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31456">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Walter Massey recounts highlights from his career with the National Science Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31457">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Walter Massey considers the contemporary state of scientific research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31458">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Walter Massey remembers his transition to the University of California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31459">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Walter Massey details his rise in the University of California system and his call to step in at Morehouse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31460">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Walter Massey explains his decision to become president of Morehouse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31461">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Walter Massey recalls highlights from his presidency at Morehouse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31462">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Walter Massey discusses his wife, Shirley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/31463">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Walter Massey shares final reflections on his life and career</a>